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#37433 - 04/28/04 04:50 AM Circuit arrangement  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
A question for those involved with installs for new homes.

When planning/wiring your general-purpose branch circuits, how do you arrange your circuits?

Do you wire with a circuit per room (e.g. all living room lights and recepts on one circuit) or do you plan for minimal cable lengths and wiring convenience, such as putting recepts on opposite sides of an internal wall on the same circuit?

If you are in an area which requires AFCI for bedroom outlets, have you changed your layout since the introduction of the AFCI requirements to allow for this?

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#37434 - 04/28/04 05:09 AM Re: Circuit arrangement  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Good question Paul, I wonder about that too.

It has been a long time since I was laying out dwelling unit circuits and there were no AFCIs to worry about.

That said mostly I laid out by convenience of wiring runs, not circuits by room.

Also standard practice in my area is not to have one circuit per room, this is not a code requirement just how the EEs draw the prints.

At the time I worked for a cheap contractor and the rules where less strict.

We would run from the panel to the closest bathroom outlet, put a GFCI there then hit any other bathrooms then continue onto the outside outlets. [Linked Image]

I always hated doing it that way and wondered what the home owners thought when they figured this out. [Linked Image]


[This message has been edited by iwire (edited 04-28-2004).]

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#37435 - 04/28/04 09:05 AM Re: Circuit arrangement  
George  Offline
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 375
After doing a lot of thinking and very careful layouts and trying to make things easier I find:

No matter what you do it turns out to be wrong.

#37436 - 04/28/04 10:59 AM Re: Circuit arrangement  
DougW  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,143
North Chicago, IL
We always ran 2 circuits per room - one 12 awg for receptacles, one 14 awg for lights. 3/4" EMT home runs for everything. AFCI's were introduced just as we were doing our last house. We treated them the same way GFCI's in bathrooms and kitchens were - we ran gray instead of white for the neutrals.

Arrangement at the panel was:



I've seen the "convenience" wiring methods used, where you feed a storage closet or the attic off of an adjacent bedroom, but I think the convenience (and safety) factor, once explained to the H.O. is worth the extra cost they'll pay over single circuits (one for the whole room).

Just my $0.02

#37437 - 04/28/04 12:58 PM Re: Circuit arrangement  
Lostazhell  Offline
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,431
Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
The way we worked it on the house I rewired last week..

2X15A Lighting circuits
2X20A Bedroom recepts (1ckt for 2 rooms,AFCI)
2x20A Laundry 120V (split ckt 5-20 recept)
2x20A Bathrooms (1 ea bathroom GFCI)
1x20A Living Rm/Hall recepts/Front WP Recept
1x20A Dining Rm/refrigerator/stove 120V rcpts
4X20A Kitchen Counter Recepts (GFCI)
(Extra ckts due to HO spec. morning
"breakfast" loads [Linked Image]
1x20A Garbage Disposal
1x20A Dishwasher
1x20A Garage/Backyard WP Recepts (gfci)
1x15A Garage door opener

place runs like a champ [Linked Image] hella lot better than in the "attempted rewire" pics..


#37438 - 04/28/04 10:58 PM Re: Circuit arrangement  
Jps1006  Offline
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
Northern IL
edited (too long to explain why)

[This message has been edited by Jps1006 (edited 04-28-2004).]

#37439 - 04/28/04 10:59 PM Re: Circuit arrangement  
Jps1006  Offline
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
Northern IL
Back in the day when we banged out semi-custom new home after new home, we used the shortest run, what ever is quickest mentality. This was EMT so we did what we could to minimize pipe.

But I have changed my philosophy over time. In the past that strategy was employed in an effort to make money. We were in the new housing rat race and you had to get on to the next one...... hurrry!

My new strategy also involves profit too. But this way is to spend more time and charge more money. A very important concept in business is what is called "perceived value". This concept can be seen in luxury items..... jewelry is a good example. Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it, and someone is willing to pay what they "perceive" its worth to be. Make your product or service appear better than the competition and you'll get more for it, not to mention good referrals to new customers fully expecting to pay a little more to get a little more. Now this is not the case for most customers unfortunately. If it works when you flip the switch, that's fine as long as it was $3 less than the other guy. I've worked for those type, and I avoid it if possible (generally with a hefty estimate).

In getting to the question, I’ve gone on calls where the customer comment that their house is wired really screwy only to find things like different recepts in the same room on different circuits, or GFI’s in one room controlling another room, things I had done in other houses and never thought twice about. But since it didn’t make sense to the customer it was perceived as crappy work.

In general I try to keep that in the forefront of my mind when I lay out a job. Each room gets its own circuit, even if I’m tempted to take advantage of a back to back (being conduit I generally can anyway by just planning my feed through there). Bathroom recpts., even though you could line & load in the first bathroom to protect the whole circuit, if the circuit leaves the room, it gets it’s own GFI. We’d had calls that there was an outlet not working and got bewilderment from the HO that there was an outlet somewhere else in the house that controlled something else. AFCI’s didn’t change things.

That was also my reasoning to my employyes as to why we have to make our pipes look good. If the job looks good, that’s all the HO really understands, how it looks. I could be putting #14 on single pole 30 amp breakers and they wouldn’t know I was a hack. But make it straight, plumb, and parralell and you’re an artist.

One last example: We were recently doing a kitchen remodel and talking to the HO. She was telling us about her neighbor who just had her kitchen done by a contractor we knew of, and had done work for many years ago. I knew what they used to put behind the walls, and how incompetent their superintendents were. But the neighbor raved about how clean the job site was every night. I didn’t say anything and the HO summed it perfectly when she said the neighbor really had no idea if they did a good job, but they sure were clean.

I always tried to be clean, but I never really appreciated it for what it could potentially be worth. I guess I was a little sloppy if I wasn’t done and I was coming back tomorrow. From that day on I have consciously made extra effort to be clean, even if the other trades aren’t.

#37440 - 04/29/04 03:34 AM Re: Circuit arrangement  
Lostazhell  Offline
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,431
Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
I've installed quite a few extra GFCI's for those homeowners that don't like going down to the garage in a towel to get their hairdryers, etc. working again! [Linked Image]


#37441 - 04/30/04 12:02 PM Re: Circuit arrangement  
pauluk  Offline
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
Norfolk, England
Thanks for the replies. There are some interesting points raised.

I hadn't really thought that a home-owner might consider it rather oddball to have recepts in one room on different circuits (kitchen excepted perhaps).

As some of you know, it's normal practice in the U.K. to have lights and receptacles on different circuits, with rings serving large areas for the latter. The typical modern two-story house has two lighting circuits, and almost all of them seem to be wired one circuit for each floor. I've often thought it better to split the lighting circuits so that each serves a part of each floor, thereby leaving at least some lights operative per floor if a circuit trips out.

I've done a similar thing on a long single-story home with central living room, splitting the lighting circuits to each end of the house but "overlapping" with the ceiling lights in the living room on one circuit and the wall lights on the other.

I can see how the feed-thru GFCI receptacle feeding outlets in another room could be confusing. If an outlet in a bathroom stopped working, it would occur to them to theck the breakers at the panel, but probably not to go searching for a GFCI in another bathroom.

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 04-30-2004).]

#37442 - 04/30/04 02:42 PM Re: Circuit arrangement  
Mean Gene  Offline
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 152
Ohio, USA
Randy raises a excellant point. My house was wired that way. I pig-tailed the in feed and out feed at the GFCI and replaced all the receptacles down stream with GFCI's.

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